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Independence Day

John Trumbull's Signing the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…

Independence wasn’t really achieved until September 3, 1783 when Britain signed the Treaty of Paris, and, to be factual, our current government only dates from March 4, 1789 when the first government under our Constitution was installed.

Liberty was not extended to all men until December 6, 1865 with ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, nor were women given the one of the most important rights of men until August 26, 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment recognizing their votes.

In truth, until July 2, 1964 when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, there was no mechanism to force government to recognize the rights of all American citizens.

This is the 230th anniversary of the signing, the 180th anniversary of the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the 40th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act.

2 comments

1 Karen { 07.04.06 at 4:05 pm }

Happy 4th!

Hope you get to enjoy some views of Fireworks to celebrate our Founding (and all these other special moments!)

😀

2 Bryan { 07.04.06 at 4:36 pm }

There is no way for you to know, but I avoid fireworks. I’ve been through the “rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air” for real, and don’t enjoy the slightly less tame variety.

There are many enjoyable ways to celebrate that don’t require explosions.